TES Maths Resource of the Week 49 – San Gaku

What is it?

According to the author, San Gaku, also known as Japanese Temple Problems, are challenging geometric puzzles. And when he says they are challenging, he is not wrong! Students will need knowledge of Pythagoras, angle facts, quadratic equations, and a spark of genius to solve these ones. But that is exactly what I like about them. They are perfect for your high ability GCSE sets who can do all the separate skills required for GCSE, but who have trouble when things are out of context or unfamiliar. If they can cope with these, they can cope with anything. Thankfully answers are provided!

How can it be used?

I think students will certainly need one whole class example before you unleash them on the rest of the problems. I am going to get my Year 11 into small groups, give them a few minutes to think about the first one, and then we will share ideas as a class. I will emphasise the importance of setting their work out clearly and justifying any statements or conclusions they draw. What is particularly nice about these is each problem has a number example and then moves to the general. This is absolutely ideal practise for the more demanding GCSE questions, as well as any students doing the excellent AQA Level 2 Certificate in Further Mathematics. And having seen the new GCSE specifications, SanGaku could well be the way forward for many years going forward!

Thank you for sharing!

Craig Barton

Download SanGaku

View the author’s other resources

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